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'Joker' Director Reveals Film Was Influenced by Multiple Robert De Niro Movies

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 06:  Robert De Niro attends the 2018 Carousel of Hope Ball at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 6, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

While Marvel Studios has established a solid formula for success with their films, DC Entertainment hasn’t been so consistent, with lighthearted romps like Shazam! being released, alongside darker (and not reviewed well) films like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Another edition to the collection of films will be Todd Phillips’ Joker--which, the director revealed this week, was influenced by a variety of star Robert De Niro’s crime films.

Phillips explained to Empire (via CinemaBlend) that De Niro, who will appear alongside Joaquin Phoenix in the film, was a major inspiration for Joker. “Bob really loved the script. I met with him and said, ‘I’d be lying to you if I said we weren’t influenced by a lot of your movies,’” Phillips said. “I talked with him about Taxi Driver and about The King Of Comedy, which is one of my favourite movies of all time.”

Per CinemaBlend, Joker’s main character, Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), will likely endure a descent into madness similar to De Niro’s Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver or his Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy.

Both De Niro and star Joaquin Phoenix--typically reluctant to engage with superhero films--were drawn to the film because of its crime film-influenced script. However, reports from co-star Zazie Beetz indicate that the film was rewritten on set, so it’s unclear how much of the original remains.

For our money, we’re not sure how Phillips’ script will translate to the screen--but regardless, we’ll be watching it when it hits theaters on Oct. 4.